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China develops X-M20 “Crane” drone with 16,000 feet ceiling

The China Helicopter Research and Development Institute (CHRDI) announced earlier this week that China has developed the X-M20 “Crane”, a small drone that has a ceiling of more than 16,000 feet. A distinctive pitch control technology makes the electric drone unique according to CRHDI, China’s leading helicopter research organ of Avicopter under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

The X-M20 “Crane” drone

The Chinese-built X-M20 drone weighs only 44 lbs and is designed to have a service level of up to 16,400 feet altitude. It also boasts strong wind-resistance. The ‘small’ electric drone offers a very long flight time of about one hour with a maximum payload of 11 lbs.

What makes the X-M20 drone different from the typical quadcopter is its ability to control its flight path by applying a pitch rotor control technique, i.e. changing the angle of the rotors. According to CHRDI, this makes the drone very efficient, flexible and allows for strong wind resistance.

Its high-performance propeller blades reduce both power consumption and noise levels while increasing its flight time. the drone could be useful in various missions, such as border patrol, anti-terrorism, geographical surveys, and traffic monitoring.

DroneDJ’s take

We curious to see the X-M20 “Crane” drone in action. Apart from the one-hour flight time, we interested to see how the drone behaves in the air with its unique rotor pitch control technology. China is at the forefront of drone development as we all know, so we are always interested in new technology coming from the Far East.


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Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo